The Columbia Bible College Bearcats quieted perhaps the most dynamic player in the tournament en route to an opening-round victory at the CCAA men’s volleyball national championship in Moose Jaw, Sask. on Thursday.
Facing the Humber Hawks of Etobicoke, Ont., in the quarter-finals, CBC’s chief concern was slowing down outside hitter Terrel Bramwell. The Bearcats were acutely aware of Bramwell’s prowess – in 2012, when CBC hosted the national tourney, he carried the Hawks to the title, racking up a mind-boggling 45 kills against the Douglas Royals in the final.
The Bearcats came into this year’s nationals as the fifth seed, coming off a runner-up result at the PacWest conference playoffs. They engineered a mild upset of No. 4-seeded Humber, winning decisively in three sets (25-20, 25-21, 25-20).
CBC controlled the first two sets, but Bramwell found his rhythm in the third, sparking the Hawks to a 14-9 lead.
But the Bearcats took over at that point, dominating at the net and finishing the set on a 16-6 run to clinch the match. CBC’s Will Quiring (16 kills, seven digs) and Bramwell (19 kills) picked up player of the game honours.
“We knew we couldn’t stop him (Bramwell), but I thought we did an excellent job of containing him and making him pay when he made mistakes,” CBC coach Phil Wiens told The News via cellphone. “Our block was really on today, which helped us win the match.
“We didn’t miss very many serves at all today, which allowed our blockers lots of opportunities to hold them down.”
The ‘Cats move on to face the top-seeded Red Deer Kings in the semifinals on Friday (4 p.m. Pacific time, streamed live at sportscanada.tv/ccaa).
Wiens said the key for CBC will be simply focusing on their own side of the net.
“They’re a really strong team, a really deep team,” he said of the Kings. “But we feel like we’ve got to take care of our game.
“We’ve just got to come out and play well, and we feel we’re also strong at every position, so it’s going to be a really good match. Both teams have a lot of talent – it’s going to come down to who plays the best game.”